Artist In Bristol, England Replaces Toppled Statue Of Slave Trader With Statue Of Black Lives Matter Protester

Black Lives Matter protestor Jen Reid stands on the plinth where the Edward Colston statue used to stand
Matthew Horwood / Getty Images

A “stealth artist” in Bristol, England has replaced a statue of a slave trader, which was torn down during George Floyd protests, with a statue of a Black Lives Matter protester, Reuters reported.

Following the death of George Floyd, as CNN reported in early June, protests against racial injustice were taking place not just in the United States, but all across the world. One such protest took place in Bristol, England, where protesters set their sights on a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston, which had stood in the city since 1895. Protesters toppled the statue and threw it into the city’s harbor.

As reported by The Inquisitr, officials later pulled the statue up from the bottom of the sea, with a view towards putting it in a museum.

Meanwhile, the plinth on which Colston’s statue had rested still stands. And in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, according to The Guardian, artist Mac Quinn and his team erected a statue of a Black Lives Matter protester in a stealth operation.

Quinn had secretly been working for weeks with Jen Reid, who was photographed standing on the plinth with her fist raised after the statue was toppled, in order to cast her likeness, in the pose from that fateful day, into a statue.

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - JULY 15: People gather to view a new sculpture, by local artist Marc Quinn, of Black Lives Matter protestor Jen Reid on the plinth where the Edward Colston statue used to stand on July 15, 2020 in Bristol, England. A statue of slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down and thrown into Bristol Harbour during Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of an African American man, George Floyd, while in the custody of Minneapolis police in the United States of America. The Mayor of Bristol has since announced the setting up of a commission of historians and academics to reassess Bristol's landmarks and buildings that feature the name of Colston and others who made fortunes in trades linked to slavery. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
  Matthew Horwood / Getty Images

Arriving with two trucks and a crew of ten, Quinn and his team then erected the statue of Reid, and made sure it was solidly affixed to its base, then drove off before police could arrive to intervene.

Reid, for her part, had nothing but praise for the statue.

“It’s just incredible. That’s pretty f*cking ballsy, that it is.”

Sanna Bertilsson, a bicyclist who happened to be passing by, at first thought that the statue had been changed officially by the city, before being told it was done without permission.

“I’d better get a picture before they take it down,” she said.

Another passing bicyclist, Bobby Loyal, said he hopes the statue stays.

“It’s a really great addition to the center of Bristol… I just hope no one is angry about it and tries to rip this down… I think the council should leave it in place,” he said.

For now, the statue’s future is uncertain. Bristol mayor Marvin Rees had said previously that he could not condone criminal damage, but at the same time called the destruction of the Colston statue a “piece of historical poetry.”